Wharfedale Development XV welcomed Keighley 2nd XV to the avenue for their most recent League encounter. The hosts were keen to bounce back from the narrow defeat at the hands of Selby the previous week and started the encounter in a very determined fashion. The home side’s scrum, continuing their dominant form, took one against the head. Young scrum half Will Lawn fed the ball out via the back line to Jon Feeley (making his 3rd team league debut) on the right wing. Feeley broke clear of the initial defensive line and fed back inside to the impressive Lawn for his first try. The conversion by Harris Catley was successful. 7-0.
Keighley then responded well and camped deep inside the Dale 22, but disciplined defence eventually forced a knock on. From the scrum, Lawn broke blind and fed fellow Colt Otto Mallalieu-Black who just had the legs to outpace the Keighley defence. Catley converted. 14-0.
The next score was created after a Keighley kick down field was gathered by Mallalieu-Black. He passed to full back Catley who chipped over the defenders. The ball was hacked on and eventually touched down by centre Scott Rogers. 19-0.
Keighley came back on the attack but once again were held out and a knock on was forced. The loose ball was hacked through and then gathered by Mallalieu-Black for his second try. 26-0.
The end of an impressive first half, up the hill and in moist conditions, was a second try for Lawn following slick inter-passing down the blind side by Feeley and Catley. 31-0.
The home side started the second half as they finished the first with some quality attacking play. The dominant home pack won a scrum against the head on the half way. Replacement no.8 Michael Snowdon broke away down the pitch and found Mallalieu-Black for his hat-trick. 38-0.
Snowdon was also involved in the next score, which was frustrating to some onlookers as this was only his first appearance of the season. This time he put veteran winger Feeley in. Another successful conversion by Catley. 45-0.
A quick tap penalty taken by Lawn was then passed to Feeley who still had enough pace left to run clear and bring up the half century. Catley converted. 52-0.
Despite the score line, Keighley deserve credit for never giving up and sure enough they scored the next two tries, both converted. The first was a long distance breakaway by their centre. The second from close quarter sustained pressure by their forward pack. 52-14.
The final score of the afternoon belonged to the home side. A Lawn break was well supported by Mallalieu-Black, who crossed for his fourth try of the afternoon. 57-14.
All in all, it was a cracking team performance against a good Keighley side and the perfect response to the previous week’s disappointing loss at Selby. The tries may have all been scored by the backs but the game was won by the forwards. The scrum led by the front row of Close, Close and Walker deserve mention as do the wing forwards of David Wade and Andrew Bode who were excellent all afternoon. Youth also shone with Colts, Lawn and Mallalieu-Black making obvious impressions with their try scoring and strong running, Morgan Davies in the second row with strong carrying and impressive work rate and Joe Metcalfe who came on in the second half for his senior debut and looked more than capable at this level. At the other end of the age spectrum, Jon Feeley outplayed many a younger opponent and, despite being denied a hat-trick due to a forward pass, still bought a jug.
1. Matthew Close
2. Ian Close
3. Thomas Walker
4. James Ardron
5. Morgan Davies
6. David Wade
7. Andrew Bode
8. Matt Wareing
9. Will Lawn
10. Andrew Foulds
11. Otto Mallalieu-Black
12. Scott Rogers
13. Sam Mason
14. Jon Feeley
15. Harris Catley
Subs: Joe Jackson, Dan Benson, Michael Snowdon, Joe Metcalfe
Tries: Mallalieu-Black (4), Lawn (2), Feeley (2), Rogers, Cons: Catley (6).